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Update on Montco's SRT Closure

From Frank Custer at Montgomery County, received April 17th.

"Update on the SRT closure in Norristown from the latest meeting with the contractor:

- The trail WILL be open the weekends of April 26-27 and May 3-4

It will be a gravel trail during that period, so be cautious

- The trail will open full-time starting Saturday, May 10.
o When it opens again daily, the trail will be in its permanent place and will be fully paved 
- The trail is scheduled to be paved during the week of May 5. If we’re fortunate and the contractor can pave earlier that week, we can open it before May 10. But that will be real-time, last-minute information.
Also, I want to add that the contractor is erecting portable variable message signs at each end of the project informing users of the weekend and permanent opening dates."


East Coast Greenway Ride on May 10th

The PA Chapter of the East Coast Greenway (ECG) Alliance is sponsoring a ride to explore the East Coast Greenway by bicycle on Saturday May 10th, 2014.  

To join, you must reserve your ride-ticket in advance.  The ride will travel from Wilmington DE to Schuylkill Banks in Philadelphia.  Riders will take a special SEPTA train car, departing 30th Street Station at 9.38am (you must arrive by 9:15am to allow loading of your bicycle), arriving in Wilmington at 10:21am. The group will follow the East Coast Greenway on its scenic route up the Brandywine Valley and then over to the Delaware River. It will then follow on-road sections of the ECG, learning of the improvements under way both for the ECG and in the communities it links along the Delaware River waterfront in New Castle and Delaware Counties. Riders will then then pay a visit to John Heinz National Wildlife Preserve, following the beautiful preserve trails with a great chance to see all the spring birds.  Finally the route passes through historic Bartram's Garden, the nation's oldest arboretum before joining new sections of the ECG along the Schuylkill River Trail.  The ride will end across the river from 30th Street Station on the Schuylkill Banks Trail.

Provide your own picnic lunch, required.

·         Fee, cost of Train Ticket, $5.00 each. 

·         Other fees: For non-ECG members the cost is $20.00.  For ECG member the cost is free. 

·         To reserve your space email Andy Hamilton at  

·         Ride is limited to 30 people.

Register here:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ecg-wilmington-to-philadelphia-ride-tickets-11389188369?aff=eorg

 
 

NJ TAP 2014 Deadline is Extended

NJDOT's "Local Aid" office recently posted an announcement extending the deadline for submitting TAP and SRTS applications to June 30th, 2014

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and the Transportation Alternatives Programs (TAP).

For Transportation Alternatives Program, it is recommended that projects have a requested funding amount of at least $150,000 and a soft cap of $1 million. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Selection Committee.

The deadline for submitting applications for the 2014 Safe Routes to School and the Transportation Alternatives Programs has been extended to Monday, June 30th 2014.

The Safe Routes to School Application Guidance has been updated to provide additional clarifications regarding the resolution requirements.

Tags: NJDOT

Bikes, Food, and Music This Thursday on the Camden Waterfront

The combination of bikes, trails, live music, food trucks, and site-specific art installations typically makes us think of Philadelphia (woot woot!). But now Camden is getting into the act, with the Camden Night Gardens this Thursday.

The Camden Night Gardens is a free night time art and bike festival on the Camden Waterfront that will take place on Thursday, April 17th from 7:00PM-11:00PM. It will feature local artist performances (music and dance), digital and physically produced projections, site-specific art installations, an illuminated BMX performance, a water-based light production, the presentation of historic record players and recordings, a bike tune-up station and a bike parade.


The Riverfront State Prison used to loom over the Camden neighborhood north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Now it's an empty lot and its perimeter road, known informally as the Jail Trail, offers unique views of the bridge and Philly skyline. This event is a community-oriented repurposing of that trail and land.

For the convenience of event goers both the north and south walkways of the Ben Franklin Bridge will be open until midnight.  For more information on the Camden Night Gardens visit the event's Facebook Page


PA's Multimodal Fund Open for Applications

One of the primary benefits of the Transportation bill (Act 89) passed by Harrisburg last year is the $80Million Multimodal Fund.  On April 7th, a PennDOT press release announced that it was opening the fund for applications.  

"PennDOT can make available $20 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15 to distribute to successful applicants. Eligible projects can cost between $100,000 and $3 million and they require a 30 percent match from local sources.

PennDOT will evaluate the applications and make selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency, and operational sustainability.

Besides the $20 million in unrestricted funds to be distributed, PennDOT may award grants from the dedicated budget categories in the Multimodal fund for aviation, rail freight, ports and bicycle-pedestrian projects.

The application period started today and closes on June 30."

Act 89 dedicated $2 Million of the Multimodal fund for bicycle-pedestrian projects.  

Municipalities, Council of Governments, businesses and non-profits are among those eligible to apply.  

Eligible projects include:  A project which coordinates local land use with transportation assets to enhance existing communities, including but not limited to: sidewalk/crosswalk safety improvements, bicycle lanes/route designation, greenways.... and [a] project related to streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement and pedestrian safety, including but not limited to: sidewalk connections, crosswalks, pedestrian and traffic signals, pedestrian signs, and lighting etc. 
 

The guidance is here

The application is here

This fund is different than and separate from the Multimodal Transportation Fund being administered by the Commonweatlh Financing Authority.



Permanent Electronic Trails Counters Coming to the Circuit

    • 2013 11 28 13 35 36

In order to obtain continuous data on trail use in Greater Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) will be installing up 12 permanent automated bicycle and pedestrian counting stations on Circuit trails this spring. The automated counting equipment for these stations, acquired with a grant from the William Penn Foundation, will provide continuous data on bicycle and pedestrian use and will allow DVRPC to develop seasonal adjustment factors that can be used to predict annual cyclist and pedestrian traffic based on week-long counts.  Given their short duration, DVRPC can perform week-long counts at a much wider variety of locations.

Each permanent counting station will consist of both a passive infrared pyro-electric unit, which will detect changes in temperature when a person passes the sensor, and an inductive loop, which will stretch across the trail surface and detect the electromagnetic signature of bicycle wheels as they pass over. The passive infrared unit sits inside a trailside post about waist high. The inductive loop is a low-profile cable attached to the surface of the trail using highly durable road tape.

DVRPC is currently working with trail owners to site and install the counting stations. For more information contact Shawn Megill Legendre ( or 215.238-2934).


Photo used with permission of EcoCounter

Tags: Counters, DVRPC

The Schuylkill River Trail is Really Closed in Norristown

Update: Montgomery County has announced that the trail will be conditionally opened on the weekends of April 26-27 and May 3-4 (walk bikes through the construction zone). The trail will then be paved and re-open permanently on May 10.

Since January 27 the section of the Schuylkill River Trail between Ross St and Ford Rd in Norristown has been closed due to construction of the Lafayette Street Extension Project. Our assumption was that the trail between those two streets was closed but that access to Ross St from the trail was not affected since the County's trail closure information on their website did not mention that this access point was also severed. However we found out the hard way (from a frustrated trail user) that in fact Ross St was also closed by the construction. 

The closure of Ross St entrance changes the alternate routing options dramatically; the nearest access point on the trail, Ernest Station Rd, is about two miles away by road. However, while Ernest Station Rd is not closed to traffic, it is privately owned and therefore the County determined that there was no short and safe on-road detour for the trail. 

The trail was scheduled to be reopened later this month, but the unusually harsh winter has set back much of the work. We are awaiting an update from the County on a new target reopening date. Meanwhile if you are determined to ride between Philadelphia and Valley Forge (or beyond) be prepared to take the roads or use the once-per-hour SEPTA Regional Rail service between Conshohocken Station and the Norristown Transportation Center (website). Note that on April 5th and 6th train service between Conshohocken and Norristown will be replaced by bike accessible shuttle buses.


28 Hospitals Proximate to the Circuit

The Delaware Valley Health Council just finished a terrific webinar this afternoon for hospital personnel to learn more about how they can promote the Circuit to their patients.  "Delivering health care instead of disease care."  The webinar featured Tom Sexton from Rails to Trails, Elissa Garafolo from the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and Barrett Dunigan of Friends of Cynwyd Trail.  

The D&L folks are partnering with St. Luke's Hospital system to put on a spring challenge "Calling All Couch Potatoes"  as part of their "Get Your Tail on the Trail" progam.

The Friends of the Cynwyd Trail partnered with Lankenau Medical Center to host "Trail Tuesdays" last fall. Lankenau Hospital staff led workshops on the trail about what shoes to wear, foods to eat and how trails can make you healthy.

The Circuit Coalition invites other hospitals to become engaged with trails that are proximate to their location.  Here is a map of hospitals near Circuit trails.    If you are a hospital wanting to connect with a trail group, please contact Tom Sexton tom@railstotrails.org or Sarah Clark Stuart sarah@bicyclecoalition.org 


Exhibit Space Available at Camden Night Gardens

Cooper’s Ferry Partnership (CFP) is hosting the Camden Night Gardens (#CNG) on Thursday April 17, 2014 from 7pm – 11pm.

The Camden Night Garden (CNG) is a one-night festival that will engage the Camden community to showcase Camden’s rich cultural history through the use of large-scale, community-based light, sound, and projection instillations. The goal of CNG is to reimagine the underutilized waterfront trail for one night by “lighting up” the area and promoting the work of local artists, musicians, restaurants and bikers.  CNG facebook page is here.

We would love for your organization to be present at the Camden Night Garden in our Exhibit Space.

This is a great chance to reach out to a wide audience, including Camden residents, neighborhood groups, art lovers, bike riders and other visitors. 

To secure your spot in our Exhibit Space, please email or call Sue Brennan at  or (856) 757-9154.


For $35, we will provide a table, two chairs, a colorful table cover and a 10x10 tent. We want every community organization to participate in #CNG so if you cannot afford the cost, please just ask us for a fee waiver.


Training for New Jersey Biking & Walking Funding Opportunities

Sustainable Jersey is putting on three workshops to inform municipal and non-profits on how to learn more about the strategies, tools, and funding opportunities available to help your town realize the benefits of becoming a more bikeable and walkable community.  NJ APA-CM credits have been requested.  This training is applicable for the Safe Routes to School and Transportation Alternatives Program in the Funding Opportunities block.  For more information on the topics covered, visit the Sustainbale Jersey website. To register for a workshop in New Brunswick and Camden, click on a link below:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 10:00 AM - NOON 

Rutgers Student Center, Room 411 

ABC 126 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901   

REGISTER


Friday, April 4, 2014, 10:00 AM - NOON  

Camden County MUA

1645 Ferry Avenue, Camden, NJ 08104 

REGISTER  


Circuit Coalition welcomes three new members

On March 20th, the Circuit Coalition welcomed three organizations to the Coalition: the Brandywine Conservancy, the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and the New Jersey Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

A description of all Circuit Coalition members can be found here.


Pennypack Trail Will be Extended by Montco

According to a Philly.com story that appeared today, Montgomery County is going to triple the Pennypack Trail by building 3.8 miles from Lorimar Park to Byberry Road and Lorimar Park to Rockledge Borough Park

The project, which is estimated to cost $1.6 million, will start this summer and take about one year to complete the entire section.  It will be a gravel path, suitable for walking, running and recreational riding.  It will follow the dormant Fox Chase to Newtown rail line.

With Montgomery County taking this action, one has to ask, will now Bucks County get behind buiding the trail along the rail line to Newtown?



PA's CFA Announces Two Trail Funding Opportunities

PA's Commonwealth Financing Authority announced today two new funding opportunities for trails.

Multimodal Transportation Fund.  Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development. The application deadline for the program is June 20, 2014 for consideration at the September 9, 2014 CFA board meeting.  Applications can request from $100K to $3M.  MMF guidance is here.

Greenway, Trails and Recreation Program.  Projects which involve development, rehabilitation and improvements to public parks, recreation areas, greenways, trails and river conservation. The application deadline for the program is July 21, 2014. Applications can be for up to $250K.  GTR guidance is here.



 


NJ DOT Announces New Round of Transportation Alternatives and Safe Routes to School Funds

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and Transportation Alternatives (TAP) Programs.  The solicitation for these federally funded programs is being administered by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in partnership with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO).
 
For more information about the SRTS grant, see the solicitation letter here

For more information about the TAP grant, see the solicitation letter here

NJDOT’s application guidance document for the SRTS program containing the necessary information for completing an application and answering questions regarding eligibility and program requirements can be viewed here.  The application guidance document for TAP can be viewed here
 
Applications for both SRTS and TAP are available through NJDOT’s online grant management system, SAGE (System for Administering Grants Electronically). The application deadline is May 15, 2014.
 
Visit NJDOT’s Local Aid and Economic Development website to learn more about both the SRTS and TAP grants.

Some key things to remember before applying - 

NJDOT has heard concerns about Technical Assistance and will be providing more technical support this year. Look for an upcoming webinar, local training/workshops and a tip sheet to improve you application. NJ Safe Routes to School already has developed a TIP sheet for SRTS

Program managers like to emphasize that both programs distribute funds for reimbursement.

DVRPC has control of about half of the TAP money allocated to the South Jersey counties in its jurisdiction and will be prioritizing these three categories:

  • Provisions of facilities for bicycles and pedestrians
  • Conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails
  • Stormwater management projects

DVRPC Announces TCDI Planning Grant Funding

On March 5th the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) announced a new competitive round of Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI) planning grants.

TCDI is an opportunity for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) to support smart growth in the individual municipalities of the Delaware Valley through initiatives that implement the region’s long-range plan Connections 2040 Plan for Greater Philadelphia  (which includes the Circuit) . Central to this effort is to ensure greater quality of life choices by providing and maintaining essential infrastructure, supporting local and regional economic 
development, and linking land use and transportation planning, through: 
 
  • Supporting local planning projects that will lead to more residential, employment or commercial opportunities in areas designated for growth or redevelopment; 
  • Improving the overall character and quality of life within the region to retain and attract business and residents; 
  • Enhancing and utilizing the existing transportation infrastructure capacity to reduce demands on the region’s transportation network; 
  • Reducing congestion by promoting the use of transit and bike and pedestrian transportation modes
  • Building capacity in our older suburbs and neighborhoods; 
  • Reinforcing and implementing improvements in identified Centers and;
  • Protecting our environment through growth management and land preservation

If you municpality or County is interested in applying to TCDI they have to attend a mandatory meeting next Tuesday (March 18th) at DVRPC. The pre-proposal meeting will be held 4pm-6pm, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at DVRPC Offices, 8th Floor of ACP Building, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. All attendees must RSVP for the meeting to .

A local government official (staff, elected or appointed) must represent the municipality or county. Consultants to the local governments are not considered representatives for this meeting.

To learn more about TCDI go to http://www.dvrpc.org/tcdi/

Tags: Planning, grants, tcdi

Supreme Court Ruling on Rail Trails Will Not Affect the Circuit

The trail world is abuzz over Monday's Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Wyoming land owners Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust. The ruling awarded ownership of a mile section of the Medicine Bow Rail Trail to the trust, whose land surrounds the trail. The case is considered to be a major blow to rail-trail development and may result in the closing of hundreds of miles of rail trails in Western United States.

While this is a very troubling development for our Western colleagues, the decision will not affect any trails on the Circuit. The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy has created this neat infographic below. The last checkpoint at the bottom should put any local fears to rest. 

To find out more about the case go to www.railstotrails.org/supremecourt

    • scotus decision affects infographic rails to trails conservancy

Quakertown Area Trails Study Looks At Connecting To The Circuit

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has released a feasibility study of routing the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail through the Quakertown Area this complements a study released last Spring that analyzed connecting the PA Highlands Trail with the New Jersey segment of the Highlands Trail which is maintained by the NY/NJ Trail Conference.

Like the trail in New Jersey the PA Highlands Trail will be a combination of natural surface trails, rural roads and shared use paths. The Circuit, with a few exceptions only includes the latter, so it is fortunate that most of the trail alignments in the study strived for piecing together new and existing shared use path connections through the region's semi-rural landscape.

The study also breathes new life into the somewhat dormant Liberty Bell Trail alignment which has seen little progress since Mongtomery County published a feasibility study in 2001. Building the trail on the north end has generated a lot of buzz since the popular Saucon Rail Trail was completed to Coopersburg near the Bucks - Lehigh County Line.

The PA Highlands Trail is planned to expand west along Unami Creek to meet the Perkiomen Trail in Northern Montgomery County. Milford Township intends to complete its path network along the creek up to the Montgomery County Line. The Appalachian Mountain Club which is a Circuit Coalition partner is already working on trail planning efforts in Montgomery County.


FHWA Announces TIGER Grant Applications For 2014

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has posted a Notice of Funding Availability for the 2014 TIGER Grant program. Applications will be accepted through Grants.gov for a period beginning on April 3rd 2014 and ending on April 28, 2014.

More information about the 2014 TIGER Program is available at http://www.dot.gov/tiger/nofa

If your eligible organization has not previoiusly registered at Grants.gov before then you need to do so before you apply for TIGER. The registration process takes about 4-6 weeks so you should be start that process immediately. http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration.html

Tags: TIGER

Remembering Mike Fusco - Champion of the Chester Creek Trail

You may not know the name Mike Fusco, but if you live in Delaware County you may know about the Chester Creek Branch and the vision to build a trail on the unused rail line that ceased operations in 1972.

Mike's efforts to create a rail trail go back nearly 20 years. According to the July 1995 edition of the Cyclegram (the Bicycle Coalition's newsletter), Mike and Delaware County Planner Jim Vetterlein began hosting weekly hikes along the Chester Creek Branch. They founded the Friends of the Chester Creek Branch shortly afterward. In 1997 the Friends began cobbling together funds from the William Penn Foundation, Delaware County, DCNR and private contributions in order to conduct a feasibility study which was finally published in 2002.

As President, Mike continued to shepherd the trail development process up to the preparation for construction. The Chester Creek Trail will begin construction this year and the removal of brush and railroad ties has already begun.

Mike was a powerful force in Delaware County, helping to create what will be the County's first linear rail trail. He will be deeply missed but the work of the Friends of Chester Creek Branch goes on. His legacy will be a terrific trail which will bring joy to thousands of people in our region for years to come. You can read more about Mike Fusco's life here.

Visitation: Wednesday from 6:30- 8:30 pm and Thursday from 9-10:00am at Nolan-Fidale Funeral Home Ltd., 5980 Chichester Ave, Aston, PA
Eulogy: Thursday at 10:00am at Nolan-Fidale Funeral Home. BURIAL: Birmingham-Lafayette Cemetery, West Chester.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations should go to the: Friends of the Chester Creek Branch PO Box 2313 Aston, PA 19014.

Mike Fusco 1957-2014


Take Action - Please help New Jersey keep its federal Recreational Trails Program

New Jersey's Recreational Trails Program provides $2 million annually in trail funding. It is a component of the Transportation Alternatives Program authorized by Congress under MAP 21. Each year the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded $25,000 grants to help build, promote and maintain trails.
 
However the (DEP) just suspended the Recreational Trails Program for 2014, directing staff resources to the NJ Blue Acres program. And while that program is an important endevour for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, it means that no one at the NJ DEP will manage the 2014 allocation or award to funds to recipients of the 2013 program, which include the repair of trails that have been damaged by the storm .
 
Since the trails program began in 1993, more than $17 million has been awarded to state, county and local government agencies and nonprofits in New Jersey.
 
Please help New Jersey keep its federal Recreational Trails Program.
 
Send an email to Robert Martin, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and urge him restore New Jersey's Recreational Trail Program.
 
 
 
    • Wawa Trail Connection
    • Gloucester - Mt. Ephraim Trail
    • Gloucester - Mt. Ephraim Trail

Improvements to the Gloucester Township Bike Path, part of the Gloucester-Mt. Ephraim Trail is awaiting funding from the 2013 round of the Rec Trails Program.